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How to grow herbs at home

 

Grow herbs at home and enjoy added flavor
in your recipes that only comes from fresh plants

If you are planning an herb garden for the first time, start with a small plot. You can still pack plenty of your favorites into a small space. The area should receive sun, especially in the mornings, and be filled with good topsoil.

Favorite, easy-to-grow herbs for the garden include:

-Basil - chicken, Italian, and vegetable dishes. Annual
-Rosemary - Roasted meats and poultry, new potatoes. Perennial
-Oregano - Mexican foods, tomato-based sauces, pizza, vegetables, and salads. Requires plenty of sunlight. Annual
-Parsley - Rice dishes, tabbouleh, pesto, broiled meats. Biennual (lives through two growing seasons, but only blooms in the second year)
Cilantro/Coriander (also known as Chinese parsley) - Asian, Indian, Mexican foods primarily. Ground seeds have different taste from fresh leaves. Annual.
-Mint - Indian dishes, lamb chops, garnishes, and tea. Perennial
-Dill - Fish, soups, tomato-based sauces, cabbage dishes. Annual
-Chives - All sauces and wide variety of other foods. Grows well in pot/sunny location indoors through winter, too. Perennial

Seed plantings are recommended, but you can select cuttings if you want to take less time to get started.

You can put your herbs in pots or plant them in a garden. Some will thrive indoors, while others, like basil, will not do well in a kitchen environment. Thyme, however, may be better suited for indoors if you live in a warmer climate.

In addition, most annuals thrive indoors all year long, but perennials tend to remain healthier when they are set outside during the summer months.

Indoor herb gardening is much the same as caring for other indoor plants. Terracotta pots, which are porous, will cause your plants to dry out more quickly than other types of pots. You can fill the bottom of the pot with small pebbles, colored aquarium rocks, or any single object that will provide a tent over the drainage holes. Fresh dirt mixed with peat and vermiculite will aid in keeping your plants well-drained.

Outdoor gardening.

Even outdoors, good drainage is a necessity for your herb plants to survive. If the soil is too wet, they will almost certainly develop root rot and other types of diseases. A good sand base or a layer of crushed gravel underneath the topsoil will give your plants the proper drainage.

Mint and a few other select herbs can become leggy and quickly get out of hand. You may want to separate these herbs in a container pot rather than including them in your garden.

If you choose to grow from seed, begin the process in late winter. Some herbs will require planting in early spring while others need to wait until even warmer weather. Your garden center expert can help you with the specific instructions on each herb. You can also find additional resources on the Internet.

Once your plants have become established, you can begin harvesting your bounty. Pick leaves from early to mid-morning; wash in cold water and dry them thoroughly indoors. May and June are the peak months for growing outdoor herbs.

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